Refined and user-friendly mid-sized load hauler
VOLKSWAGEN MEDIUM VAN, THE TRANSPORTER T6, CAN TRACE its heritage back to the air-cooled, rear-mounted flat four-engined T1 of the late 1940s.
Unlike its ancestor, the T6 – the sixth generation Transporter – runs a water-cooled inline four cylinder engine driving the front wheels.
The designers took the “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” approach to the styling, with the T6 bearing a striking resemblance to the last examples of the facelifted T5 model it replaced.
The styling is an evolution of the T5’s, the chief difference being the adoption of a grille that wears the current VW “face” that is familiar from the sedan/hatchback ranges.
Volkswagen NZ lists five models in the range, starting with the Runner – VW’S name for the base models in its van line-up – which is available only with a five-speed manual gearbox, and a short-wheelbase body.
The T6 range is powered by a 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbodiesel engine that is offered in three levels of tune.
The Runner gets a 75kw/250nm version. A 103kw/340nm TDI version is available in short- and long-wheelbase T6s, and for operators wanting more grunt, there’s a BI-TDI 132kw/400nm unit offered with the same wheelbase choices.
Aside from the Runner’s five-speed manual, T6s are available with a six-speed manual or a seven-speed DSG automatic transmission. There’s a choice of front-wheel drive (FWD) or 4Motion (4WD).
Volkswagen says the Transporter can achieve combined cycle fuel economy of 7.4 litres/100km for the Runner and the 103kw models and 7.5 litres/100km for 132kw models.
Though the DSG automatic may be the preferred choice for ease of operation in inner city stop/start traffic applications.
But the manual T6 has one of the smoothest and most user-friendly clutches we’ve experienced in any van, so it’s no real hardship to use a manual form inner-city work.
In standard form, the payload for SWB T6s is 881kg or 832kg for LWB models.
However, two optional, added-cost upgrade kits are available, the first lifting the payload by 200kg, with the heavy-duty upgrade lifting it by 400kg.
The SWB T6 has an 11.9-metre turning circle and LWB models can turn around in 13.2 metres.
With lengths of 5006mm and 5406mm for the short- and longwheelbase models respectively, both are 114mm longer that the T5 they replace.
Loading from either side or through the rear door is helped by a low cargo floor and wide door openings.
SWB models are fitted with six loading compartment tie-down eyes; LWB models have eight. Load compartment length is 2572mm on the SWB model and 2975 on the LWB.
The T6 has a comprehensive suite of passive and active safety equipment. Driver and passenger get airbags and lap/sash seatbelts that are adjustable for height, although head and side airbags are an added-cost option.
There are automatic post-collision braking, a driver drowsiness detection system, daytime running lights, and an electronic diff lock.
Cruise-control is standard, along with electric windows and central door-locking; and the large, car-style exterior mirrors are electricallyadjustable.
The multi-media system is Bluetooth compatible, and there are an SD card slot, a USB port and an AUX-IN socket.
Pricing starts at $39,990 for the Runner and tops out at $66,990 for the LWB 4MOTION DSG with the 132kw/400nm engine.